My Brother is a Beast by Damon Young, ill Peter Carnavas

Some brothers fish in cloaks,
casting off on drizzly docks.
Some brothers climb in kilts,
hiking round the highland rocks.

The narrator of ‘My Brother is a Beast’ is a younger sister. The reader doesn’t meet her until they also meet the ‘beast’ of a brother. First we meet other brothers who do other things. This narrator idolises the brother who spends time with her, does crazy things. She’s not completely sure about his slime monster concoction, but she loves playing with him. Illustrations are both real and fantastical, and text curls around images. End-papers show the beast of a brother at play.

My Brother is a Beast’, a new title in a picture book series about family members. Previous titles include ‘My Sister is a Superhero’ and ‘My Nanna is a Ninja’. ‘My Brother is a Beast’ celebrates the wonderfulness of brothers They might be weird, they might be wild, but they are for loving and for playing with. Young readers may recognise characteristics of their own brothers, or be encouraged to articulate what it is that makes their own brothers wonderful. They may also be encouraged to invent a new brother who is also a beast. Recommended for early-schoolers.

My Brother is a Beast, Damon Young ill Peter Carnavas
UQP 2017 ISBN: 9781702259579

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

My Pop is a Pirate, by Damon Young & Peter Carnavas

Some pops scream ‘Huzzah!’
when they dive in dazzling pools.
But my pop is a pirate . . .
he yells “aaarrrgghhh!’ and buries jewels.

Every Pop – or Grandad – is different. But if your Pop is a pirate, he’s really really different from all the other pops. The pop of the young narrator sails on sharky seas,buries treasure and, at the end of the day, hangs a hammock in the sails.

My Pop is a Pirate is a rollicking rhyming picture book celebrating grandfathers, their relationship with their grandchildren, difference – and, of course, pirates. From the creative pairing which also produced My Nanna is a Ninja, this new title has the same sense of fun, bouncy rhythm and humour, yet is not repetitive.

The illustrations, too, are full of life and humour, and the love between Pop and his grand daughter is evident.

So much fun.


My Pop is a Pirate, by Damon Young & Peter Carnavas
UQP, 2015
ISBN 9780702253614

Available from good bookstores and online.

My Nanna is a Ninja, by Damon Young & Peter Carnavas

Some nannas dress in pink
when they jog around the track.
But my nanna is a ninja…
so she dresses up in black.

All nannas are different, but when your nanna is a ninja, she does super different things, like juggling ninja stars and eating with swords. Still, even a ninja nanna can do ‘normal’ grandmother things like kissing a grandchild goodnight, though she might do it very quietly.

My Nanna is a Ninja is a humour-filled picture book in rhyme, celebrating difference, the grandparent-grandchild relationship and, of course, ninjas. The text flows freely, and the humour of Nanna’s actions will amuse. The illustrations, in ink and watercolour have all the whimsy we’ve come to expect from Peter Carnavas, an the use of sepia washed frames to show the things Nanna does when the child isn’t present is a clever technique.

In hardcover with a gorgeous bright yellow cover, My Nanna is a Ninja is a celebration of non-conventional grandparents.


My Nanna is a Ninja, by Damon Young & Peter Carnavas
UQP, 2014
ISBN 9780702250095

Available from good bookstores and online.